Katie is the kind of mom we all flocked to as kids: she’s warm, welcoming, and treats everyone like family.
Sadly, sheep like Katie rarely get to express their maternal instincts. She’s a Katahdin, and her partner, Kevin, is a Barbados Black Belly—two breeds often raised for meat. In fact, their previous guardians bought them from a breeding facility in hopes of sparing the family from this fate.
While sheep’s meat—“lamb” when babies and “mutton” as adults—is not the top source of “red meat” in this country, consumption is on the rise worldwide. In 2016, more than 550 million sheep lost their lives to the meat industry—making them the third largest group of land animals slaughtered, after chickens and pigs.
Had the pair’s daughters, Josie and Maple, been born at this facility, they might have faced slaughter at just six to eight months old. Or, they could have become “breeding ewes” like Katie—forced to give birth to lambs they’d soon lose, and then slaughtered for meat once their own bodies wore out.